Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In Boxes

Cardboard is surely one of the least acclaimed inventions.

A home furnished and stocked with two bibliophiles’ flotsam and never-to-be-jettisoned accumulations needs less than twenty-four hours to be fully boxed by professional packers and loaded into one massive truck. The quick upload, however, has been a slow download in our new abode. A three-floor walk up seemed doable given location, central air, and tandem parking when I first saw the apartment. Watching four sweaty guys haul my medieval history, Romantic poetry, and feminist and liberation theology, not to mention just about all my scrupulous notes in thick binders from undergraduate studies, was painful to bear. I tipped them well. The movers have been gone a week now and we are dangerously close to accepting a few stacked boxes as functional end tables or practical lamp stands.

Back to cardboard. We swim in it. We heft our empties down three flights, then down a fourth flight and into the basement. Then with wild abandon we buy more cardboard boxes filled with ready-to-be-assembled bookshelves, a desk, that wedding china I finally need to round out our set, and yet more books from Then we haul those fresh empties down four flights. The cardboard queues patiently for the once-a-week recycling pick up. It will take weeks to remove them all.

I once visited a company that manufactured cardboard boxes. I saw the sheets of ordinary brown cardboard perforated, printed, and cut into the strange shapes designed to transform them into useful containers to carry fried chicken or entire households as requested. I was impressed by the efficiency of the operation. I was also glad that it was not my job to turn paper into magic boxes. After making the move from the Midwest to the East Coast I know a few more things about life and cardboard:

1. Professional movers are worth every cent.

2. Cardboard is essential. I am thankful to the cardboard box makers.

3. GPS is essential--especially in Boston.

Really, I don’t know why I have broken my blogging silence with this utterly boring rumination about cardboard. I could write about our road trip with many firsts for me including a side trip to a gun show in Ohio , dinner with a Georger, a stroll beneath the Niagara Falls, a night in a Canadian B&B, and a trip to see Mass MoCa (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams.

Or I could write about our last few days in South Bend, which were perfectly filled with friends. Sharon at the farmers market saved us a seat at her counter for our last Saturday trip to the diner. She even gave us a parting gift.

I could write about our new neighborhood. Or my new modern poetry class. Or progress on my novel. Or how we still don’t have a mail key. Yet:

O Cardboard filled with treasures packed! O life contained!

Cardboard is life these days. Soon to be recycled.

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